Higher education is a mainstay in the development and support of the economic, social and cultural development of our global society and represents one of the most stable, adaptive and enduring social institutions in the world. However, in the 21st century, a number of significant factors are changing the higher education landscape. These major shifts are forcing higher education institutions (HEIs) to approach their operations more proactively in order to be strategically positioned to seize opportunities and confront threats in an increasingly competitive environment. Strategic planning is a tool for implementing appropriate institutional responses to changing internal and external conditions. Commitment, leadership, mission, vision, internal and external analysis, participation, focus on identifiable goals and strategies are among the key steps of the planning process as identified in this study. A national study was conducted on strategic planning efforts throughout Portuguese higher education institutions. Public, private, university and non-university HEIs were surveyed about their involvement with strategic planning and what their perceptions were regarding this involvement.